Friday, July 8, 2022

Percy Bysshe Shelley 200 Years -- July 8, 2022

200 years ago today, on 08-July-1822, Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley set sail in the Italian Gulf of Liguria with two companions in a small boat. The boat and its crew were lost in a great storm. Shelley's body washed ashore after ten days. His friends cremated him in a pyre on the beach. Novelist Edward Trelawny pulled Shelley's heart out of the fire. Shelley was ignored or ridiculed while he was alive, but his reputation as a poet grew.

Two Shelley stories:

1. Our grandfather's friend Babe brought a kitten for my sister and me. The cat who lived in the Del Monte Meat factory in Oakland had given birth to a litter. My sister named the little cat Percy Bysshe Shelley. Our neighbor told us that calico cats are usually females. We soon found that he was she, so my sister changed her name to Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, after Percy's wife. We called her Shelley.

2. During our senior year in high school, the yearbook committee asked each of us to come up with a quote which would appear under our photo. One guy said, "This is stupid, we shouldn't do it." That became his quote. My quote was "Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

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